Ramboll Cloudburst mitigation imageThis report, by Ramboll, outlines results from a socio-economic cost benefit analysis. The analysis is based on alternative solutions to address heavy precipitation events associated with climate change for the municipalities of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg.

Read the report here.








Innovative Tools and Planning Methodologies Showcase Announced for the 2014 Rising Seas Summit

Screenshot 2014-07-11 15.33.12


Over 40 Speakers & 60 Participant Organizations Already Confirmed

The draft program agenda for the 2014 Rising Seas Summit is now published at http://www.risingseassummit.org/agenda.html


When: September 24-26, 2014

Where: New York City

Innovative Tools and Planning Methodologies Showcase Announced

Presenters from the National Climate Assessment, Climate Central, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and leading engineering firms will provide guidance on leveraging data from recent reports and publicly available tools to support planning for adaptation and resilience to sea level rise.  These showcases will be conducted during the pre-conference (September 24) and post-conference (September 26) sessions.  Additional information will be published in the coming weeks.

Confirmed Speakers & Instructors

The following individuals are already confirmed to participate in the 2014 Rising Seas Summit.  Additional presenters and keynote speakers will be announced shortly.

  • Deborah Harford – Executive Director, Adaptation to Climate Change Team, Simon Fraser University
  • Christine Ackerson – Senior Manager, Sustainability & CSR, LG Electronics USA
  • Larry Atkinson – Professor, Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, Old Dominion University
  • Pinar Balci – Director, Bureau of Environmental Planning and Analysis, New York City Department of Environmental Protection
  • Kelly Burks-Copes – Ecologist, Ecological Resources Branch, Ecosystem Evaluation and Engineering Division, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Develop Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Anne Choate – Vice President, ICF International
  • NEW: Peter Dailey – Senior Vice President, Verisk Climate
  • NEW: Margaret Davidson – Acting Director, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Olga Dominguez – Retired, Assistant Administrator, Office of Strategic Infrastructure, U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • NEW: Kevin Donnelly – Assistant Commissioner, Wastewater Capital Program, New York City Department of Environmental Protection
  • John Englander – Author, High Tide on Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis
  • Joan Fitzgerald – Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University
  • Melanie Fitzpatrick – Climate Scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Rebecca Flora – Sustainable Communities Practice Leader, Ecology and Environment, Inc.
  • NEW: Grover Fugate – Executive Director, Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council
  • NEW: Michael Gerard – Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice, Columbia Law School
  • NEW: Nancy Girard – Commissioner, Department of Environment, City of Boston
  • Daniel Goelzer – Partner, Baker & McKenzie LLP
  • William Golden – Executive Director, National Institute for Coastal and Harbor Infrastructure
  • NEW: Brian Helmuth – Professor, Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences and School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University
  • Radley Horton – Associate Research Scientist, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University Earth Institute
  • NEW: Caroline Lewis – Executive Director, The CLEO Institute
  • NEWAlice Lippert – Senior Technical Advisor, Energy Infrastructure Modeling and Analysis, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Susan Love – Planner, Delaware Coastal Management Program
  • Emilie Mazzacurati – Managing Director, Four Twenty Seven LLC
  • Michael Mondshine – Vice President, Sustainability & Energy, WSP Group
  • Margery Moore – Director, EHS Alliances, Bloomberg BNA
  • Joshua Murphy – Senior Spatial Analyst, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Rich Olson – Professor and Director of Extreme Events Research, Office of the Vice President for Research, Florida International University
  • NEWSteven Patarcity – Senior Analyst & Strategic Plans Officer, Office of the Chief, U.S. Army Reserve
  • Margaret Peloso – Attorney, Vinson & Elkins LLP
  • Emily Seyller – Inform Decisions & Adaptation Science Program Manager, U.S. Global Change Research Program
  • Nick Shufro – Director, Sustainable Business Solutions, PwC
  • Ben Strauss – Vice President, Climate Impacts, Climate Central
  • NEWCarter Strickland – Vice President, Water & Natural Resources Program Manager, HDR
  • Halldor Thorgeirsson – Director for Implementation Strategy, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • Susanne Torriente – Assistant City Manager, City of Fort Lauderdale
  • Caitlin Werrell – Co-Director, Center for Climate and Security
  • Adam Whelchel – Director of Science, The Nature Conservancy
  • NEW: Jeff Williams – Director, Climate Consulting, Entergy

About the Rising Seas Summit

The 2014 Rising Summit will be held in conjunction with Climate Week New York and in partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Understanding, anticipating and adapting to water related threats is critical to national security and a stable economy. Sea level rise will continue to damage coastal ecosystems and inland water systems, and the recent catastrophic impacts of Hurricane Sandy have demonstrated the risks faced by all coastal communities on the U.S. eastern seaboard. These new environmental challenges require that stakeholders share knowledge and work together to reduce and mitigate environmental and social degradation induced by climate change.

For more information about this program,
please contact Melissa Lembke at 202-496-7390.


Insurers zero in on flood-prone areas


CBC reports on a new tool to help municipalities set priorities in spending on stormwater sewers

After a year in which it paid nearly $1 billion in claims in Ontario and $1.7 billion in Alberta because of natural disasters, the insurance industry is testing out a new tool that will help identify where municipalities might direct their money so future flooding does not do as much damage.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is testing out a system called Municipal Risk Assessment Tool (MRAT) that will identify the streets that will be hardest hit in a storm. Created with the help of engineers and geologists, it combines information about the age and condition of municipal infrastructure, current and future climate, soil quality and past insurance claims.

Three cities —? Coquitlam, B.C., Hamilton, Ont., and Fredericton, N.B. — are participating in a pilot with the tool this year. The idea is to test whether MRAT – essentially, a series of maps that highlight areas where basement flooding is most likely — is effective in giving city engineers a new picture of where infrastructure is vulnerable today and where it will be vulnerable in 2020 and in 2050.

According to Bill Adams, IBC vice-president for the Western and Pacific region, IBC aims to roll the diagnostic tool out to cities across Canada once it has been tested and refined and will not use it as a way of deciding where premiums should rise.

Read the full article here.


EPA releases new policy statement on climate change adaptation

On Monday, June 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a new policy statement on climate change adaptation to help the nation prepare for and respond to the impacts of a changing climate. The policy commits the Agency to work with states, tribes, and local communities to increase their resilience to extreme weather events and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

EPA’s policy is consistent with the President’s Climate Action Plan and Executive Order 13653 on Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change, which calls on the federal government to strengthen the adaptive capacity of its programs and operations. The new policy updates the EPA policy first issued in June 2011, and includes the following directives:

• Modernize EPA financial assistance program to encourage climate-resilient investments;

• Provide information, tools, training and technical support for climate change preparedness and resilience;

• Implement priority actions identified in EPA’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan and Implementation Plans;

• Focus on the most vulnerable people and places;

• Measure and evaluate performance of climate adaptation actions;

• Continue EPA planning for climate change-related risk; and

• Coordinate with other federal agencies

To read EPA’s Climate Change Adaptation Policy, go to  http://epa.gov/climatechange/impacts-adaptation/fed-programs.html

The above article was posted Jun. 30, 2014 @ 2:33 pm in Lake News Online.


Miami-Dade Sea Level Rise Task Force: Reinvent Urban Infrastructure or Lose Trillions

In the report’s introductory letter, Task Force Chair Harvey Ruvin, Miami-Dade clerk of the courts, describes sea level rise as a “measurable, trackable, and relentless” consequence of climate change that, lacking “innovative adaptive capital planning,” will “threaten trillions of dollars of the region’s built environment” as well as its water supply, natural resources, agricultural soils, and basic economy.

The Task Force was created by the County Commission in July 2013 to “review the relevant data and prior studies” to provide a “comprehensive and realistic assessment of the likely and potential [future] impacts of sea level rise.”

The Task Force report concludes with a “follow the money” warning:

With trillions of dollars of built environment and invaluable natural resources at stake in the region, the economic imperative to take action sooner rather than later is clear. WE BELIEVE THAT WITHOUT A PROFESSIONALLY WELL THOUGHT OUT ADAPTATION PLAN IN PLACE, WE RISK LOSING INSURABILITY AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR OUR FUTURE.

Read the full article here.







Canada Is Warming At Twice The Global Average And We Still Don’t Have A National Plan

Stephen Harper


Canada has been warming at roughly double the global average over the last six decades, setting the stage for dramatic changes to the economy, environment and our very way of life. But government and business have been slow to react and Canada still has no national plan to address climate change.

That’s the message in a new 259-page report from the federal government on how Canada is adapting to a warming world. And “adaptation” is the key word in the study. Rather than look for ways to slow down it down, Canada’s federal government appears focused on finding ways to deal with and even take advantage of climate change.

Read the full Huffington Post Canada  article by  here.



Missed a session at GLOBE 2014? Check out the video’s online

Missed a session at GLOBE 2014? Check out the following session recordings now available on our website:
  • Opening Plenary: Embracing a Global Greener Economy
  • Creating Chemistry for a Sustainable Future
  • Clean Energy Trends: What’s Driving the Industry Forward?
  • Climate Action: Delay is Not an Option
  • Innovation and the Clean Technology Future
  • Next Generation Cities:  Smarter, Faster, Better
  • Pathways for a Strong Global Economy
  • Bringing Sustainability Disclosure Into Focus
  • Corporate Responsibility in a New Age of Transparency
  • Emerging Drivers of the Circular Economy
  • Natural Capital: Paying for What We Take From Nature
  • Canada’s Energy Strategy
  • The Global Energy Mix: Opportunities and Realities

PLUS a number of candid speaker interviews.


Our Comment in Nature calling for oil sands moratorium

candian-oil-sands-615National Geographic: Photograph by Peter Essick

On June 25th, Mark Jaccard wrote the following on his blog:

Here is the press release for our Nature paper, released June 25, calling for a moratorium on oil sands expansion. This means no loss of current jobs in the oil sands. But it does mean a return to sanity from this selfish rush to accelerate global warming, ocean acidification and ecological destruction – events that will lead to huge economic and social costs according to a just-released study by the World Bank. It does mean that we should not build new pipelines like Keystone XL, Northern Gateway and others.

Press release:

Scientists call for a Halt to Oil Sands Expansion Until Policies Address True Costs and Global Impacts.
A Comment published today in the journal Nature calls for a moratorium on new oil sands projects in Alberta, Canada due to flaws in how oil sands decisions are made. The authors are a multidisciplinary group of economists, policy researchers, ecologists, and decision scientists. They argue that the controversy around individual pipelines like Keystone XL in the US or Northern Gateway in Canada overshadows deeper policy flaws, including a failure to adequately address carbon emissions or the cumulative effect of multiple projects. The authors point to the contradiction between the doubling of the rate of oil sands production over the past decade and international commitments made by Canada and the US to reduce carbon emissions. “The expansion of oil sands development sends a troubling message to other nations that sit atop large unconventional oil reserves,” said lead author Wendy Palen, Assistant Professor at Canada’s Simon Fraser University.
Read the full press release here.

Want to Change the World? Read This First



One key take-away message from this post carbon institute article by Richard Heinberg is:

“Only ideas, demonstration projects, and policy proposals that fit our emerging infrastructure will have genuine usefulness or staying power. How can you know if your idea fits the emerging infrastructure? There’s no hard and fast rule, but your idea stands a good chance if it assumes we are moving toward a societal regime with less energy and less transport (and that is therefore more localized); if it can work in a world where climate is changing and weather conditions are extreme and unpredictable; if it provides a way to sequester carbon rather than releasing more into the atmosphere; and if it helps people meet their basic needs during hard times.”

Click to read more.



Avoiding Collapse: An agenda for sustainable degrowth and relocalizing the economy

In this thoughtful paper, UBC Professor Emeritus William Rees, the originator of “ecological footprint analysis”, explores the interconnections between the ecological and social crises we face, and then offers up an inventory of policy solutions to address them. While radical by today’s context, his proposals seek to break through the layers of denial that mark dominant economic thinking.

His extended essay highlights the most pressing global challenges we face – the climate emergency, the reality of ecological “overshoot” that already exceeds the long-term carrying capacity of the earth and outrageous and unsustainable levels of inequality. But the paper also offers a hopeful way forward, a whole new approach to sustainable planning at every level. The solutions proposed relate to trade policy, taxation policy, regulatory policy, a re-localization of economic planning, and many other areas, but also speak to the urgent need to shift popular culture away from rampant consumerism and a blind faith in material growth. Rees contends that tackling the ecological crisis will require a much more equitable sharing of the world’s resources – a “new social contract” both locally and globally.





Canada in a Changing Climate: Sector Perspectives on Impacts and Adaptation

Canada in a Changing Climate: Sector Perspectives on Impacts and Adaptation is a 2014 update to the 2008 science assessment report, From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate.  During this time period, our understanding of climate change impacts and adaptation in Canada has increased, both as a result of new research and through practical experience.  Led by Natural Resources Canada, the development of this report involved over 90 authors and 115 expert reviewers, and synthesized over 1500 recent publications.

The web-accessible report is available in its full version and by chapter.




PCIC Employment Opportunity: Administrative Assistant – 1 year term

PCIC is seeking to hire an Administrative Assistant.

The Administrative Assistant works closely with the Director, the Lead for Planning & Operations and the Webmaster/Editor to facilitate a multi-disciplinary team of scientists to carry out an applied scientific program focused on providing regional climate services to stakeholders. The position is central to the functioning of PCIC through providing administrative and travel support to the PCIC staff, consolidating and maintaining financial records and staff records, and providing general administrative support. Refer to the complete job description for more details. For additional information, please address enquiries to Shelley Ma at climate@uvic.ca(link sends e-mail).

Closing Date: June 30th, 2014

Application: Please send your application with a CV, including three professional references. Address cover letter and application to Miss Shelley Ma, climate@uvic.ca(link sends e-mail), with “ATTN: Administrative Assistant” in the subject line. Please indicate whether you are legally able to work in Canada.


Global refugee figure passes 50m for first time since second world war

Screenshot 2014-06-20 08.05.30Children in the Domiz refugee camp in Iraq. Photo: Courtesy of  UNHCR


The number of people forced to flee their homes across the world has exceeded 50 million for the first time since the second world war, an exponential rise that is stretching host countries and aid organisations to breaking point, according to figures released on Friday.

Half the world’s refugees are children, many travelling alone or in groups in a desperate quest for sanctuary, and often falling into the clutches of people traffickers, the annual UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) global trends report said.

Factors that forced people to leave their homes included climate change, population growth, urbanisation, food insecurity and water scarcity – many of which interacted with and enhanced each other.

Read the full article here.



WEBINAR on key findings from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report: now available online

Dr. Stewart J. Cohen, Senior Researcher, Climate Research Division, Environment Canada, presented key findings from the Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) Contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

This webinar is now available online.

This webinar was delivered jointly by ICLEI Canada and the Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) at Simon Fraser University.

The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report consists of four volumes, one of which is the Working Group II report entitled “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.” The Summary for Policymakers, based on the underlying report, was approved by governments on March 31, 2014, and contains information on observed and projected impacts, and adaptation.

Dr. Stewart Cohen, a Senior Researcher with the Climate Research Division, Environment Canada presented key findings from the Working Group II report on this webinar.  Dr. Cohen contributed to Canada’s first national climate change assessment report, “Canada Country Study”, as well as the 2007 National Assessment, and “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States” published in 2009. Since 1992, he has contributed to publications of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. For the IPCC 5th Assessment Report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, he is a member of the author team of the chapter “Foundations for Decision Making” as well as a member of the core writing team for the Summary for Policymakers which was released on March 31.

Climate Change: Implications for Cities, a summary report of key findings from the 5th Assessment, will also be presented.  The newly launched report, produced by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the University of Cambridge, synthesizes the most pertinent findings of AR5 specifically for the “city sector”.


ICLEI Canada is hosting a series of webinars on various climate change and sustainability issues at the local level.  The In Session series offers expert-led presentations on many subject areas as they relate to sustainability planning, biodiversity management, communicating climate change, municipal best practices, capacity building, and research.


Presentation slides and recordings of past webinars can be found on our Resources page: Past Webinars


Farmers Insurance Drops Climate Change Lawsuits Against Chicago-Area Cities

Who should pay for the impacts of climate change? This conundrum was at the center of nine class action lawsuits filed by Farmers Insurance in April against dozens of cities in the Chicago area for failing to prepare for the floods that hit Illinois last spring. The insurance company argued that local governments should have known that rising global temperatures would result in heavier rains and did not do enough to secure sewers and storm drains. But, in a surprising turn of events, Farmers withdrew the suits last week, the Chicago Tribune reported.

In a statement, company spokesman Trent Frager said that Farmers initiated the lawsuits to recover money on behalf of its policyholders for losses that could have been avoided by municipalities, as well as to encourage cities and counties to take more preventative actions to reduce the risks of future natural disasters. But it seems the threat of legal action was enough to accomplish the insurance giant’s goals.

Read the full article here.



A Last Look at California’s Glaciers

California’s glaciers are disappearing at a rapid rate.

Screenshot 2014-06-16 13.27.01          Photo credit: Tim Palmer

Many people don’t realize that glaciers even exist in California. In fact, we have about 130.

Most cling to steep slopes of the Sierra Nevada, but they’re disappearing at a rapid rate. Geologist Greg Stock of Yosemite National Park reports that even Lyell Glacier—second-largest in the Sierra—no longer has the mass required for it to creep downhill, which is one condition that defines a glacier.

Among all the changes wrought by global warming—heat waves, raging floods, rising seas, menacing droughts—the melting of the glaciers is the most immediately visible for anyone who ventures high enough to see them.

One might reason that California’s glaciers are already small and of little consequence, but the same forces that are melting them are also reducing the mountains’ entire snowpack, which will diminish this century by 30 to 70 percent, according to scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. That snowpack accounts for 60 percent of the water used in California.

Read the full article here.



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